LAST Friday night, Ingrid and I attended a piano recital at BMEC along with a small, but appreciative audience.
(min cost $8)
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The performer was Konstantin Shamray, a brilliant young pianist, who played compositions from Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven and Debussy.
The concert was organised as a fundraiser for a number of desperate families in Ukraine. I felt I had to go to show my support, because for me, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is personal.
I have a friend, Oles Sydoruk, who lives in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. He is a Master sculptor of international acclaim.
Back in 2014, I commissioned him to create a large bronze commemorative plaque to honour my Scottish forebears who made an exceptional sacrifice in World War I.
The plaque is absolutely beautiful, poignant and continues to draw visitors daily as it proudly hangs on a prominent wall in the East Lothian regional museum, Scotland.
Oles is a defender of democratic, liberal ideals and back in 2014, while he was creating his Scottish plaque for me, he was demonstrating for greater integration with Europe.
His best friend and he were in Independence Square in the heart of Kyiv with thousands of others when snipers on top of surrounding rooftops started shooting indiscriminately into the crowd.
His best friend was fatally shot and died in the arms of Oles.
That evening, when he was pouring molten bronze into the Scottish plaque, a grief-stricken Oles was also pouring his heart and soul into the work. The Scottish plaque is a masterpiece.
Music has the ability to transport us spiritually, and at Friday night's concert I was transported to the bombed-out cities and towns of Ukraine.
I was moved by the untold misery inflicted on millions of its people. More than a thousand years of heritage, architecture and culture destroyed in the senseless onslaught of a power-hungry autocrat.
If you have a moment, please think of the people of Ukraine. Please think of my friend Oles Sydoruk and his many monumental sculptures across the country that are being systematically destroyed.
To Oles and the people of Ukraine, I stand by you. Slava Ukraini! (Long Live Ukraine)
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